This decision is based on national information and Government announcements regarding rising COVID-19 infection rates.
Having recently taken the very difficult decision to withdraw consent for large events on council-owned land until the end of October based on national information and Government announcements regarding rising COVID-19 infection rates, Southampton City Council has extended this until the end of December 2020.
This will be subject to ongoing review and follows further assessment of the new legislation and guidance, supported by Public Health evidence and advice. The council’s senior management team were concerned that the opportunities for mixing at large events, between groups greater than the ‘rule of six’, posed too great a risk to public safety.
This will initially impact:
MoRun: 8 November
A 5k and 10k run around Southampton Common in support of Movember. The event usually attracts 400 runners.
Remembrance Service: 8 November
An important and significant event which attracts approximately 2,000 people to the Cenotaph and surrounding area. The council is developing plans to mark this occasion in an alternative and safe way. The event usually attracts approximately 2,000 people.
Christmas Market: 12 November - 23 December
A popular calendar activity attracting thousands of people from across the region. Many other authorities have already cancelled Christmas markets.
Southampton Common 10k: 6 December
A 10k run around Southampton Common, attracting over 200 runners.
Singing in the Square: 12 December
A gathering of local community choirs who come together to sing Christmas carols attracting up to 150 people.
There may be other upcoming events and the council will work with partners to provide the appropriate guidance.
Southampton City Council is working closely with GO! Southampton on safe activities in the city centre in the run up to Christmas which will include Christmas lights and a Christmas tree. Lights will be displayed in: Bitterne, Bitterne Park Triangle, Lordshill, Portswood, Shirley and Woolston. However, there will be no physical Christmas lights switch-on event.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes at Southampton City Council, said:
“In light of new Government legislation and guidance, Southampton City Council have made the decision to call off any large-scale events happening on council land, until the public health risk to local people has been significantly reduced. Our absolute priority must always be the health and wellbeing of people, and it would be irresponsible not to act on the professional advice being given by public health experts at this time.
We will of course continue to review the situation and look forward to working with organisers to bring back much-loved large events when we can, as soon as it is safe to do so. Until this time, efforts are being made to have virtual events where possible, for example to mark our important annual Remembrance Service."
Southampton City Council would urge private landowners to think very carefully about the nature and size of events that are permitted. If necessary, the local authority has the powers to intervene in certain circumstances to help prevent the spread of infection but hope that this will not be required.